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Old 07-07-16, 08:17 AM   #1
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Where might we be without VC?

For thoughtful consideration and measured debate...

Here’s what happened when one city rejected vehicular cycling
BY TOM BABIN ON JUNE 15, 2016 IN CITIES

In the 1970s, an American named John Forester came up with an idea for keeping cyclists safe while riding on busy roads. The idea was that bicycles should be piloted, and be treated, like motor vehicles — riding alongside moving cars, using hand signals and crossing traffic for left-hand turns. The idea, which he called vehicular cycling, caught on, and it soon became the dominant theory of bicycle transportation in North America.

Today, that idea has been almost universally rejected. Cities everywhere are scrambling to do something Forester argued against for generations: building bike lanes separated from cars.

But here’s a thought experiment: What if Forester’s ideas had never caught on? What if, 40 years ago, the idea that all people on bikes should be strong and confident enough to mingle with cars was rejected, and today’s ideas of building safe, bike-specific infrastructure had been embraced back then? What would North American cities look like?

Here’s one idea: They’d look like Montreal.
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Old 07-07-16, 11:35 AM   #2
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I think this article must have come right after the above one:


Vehicular cycling is dead, just don?t bury the body yet ? Shifter


VC is the only way for me to get around in my rural county on a bike. We have one separated bike path going from Monmouth to Salem. I don't use it because I'm already on a bus by that point; my riding is beyond Monmouth. The VC movement may be dead according to these articles, but like the one I linked to pointed out, you still have to do it in lots of places if you want to ride a bike at all.
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Old 07-07-16, 11:42 AM   #3
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VC is the only way for me to get around in my rural county on a bike. We have one separated bike path going from Monmouth to Salem. I don't use it because I'm already on a bus by that point; my riding is beyond Monmouth. The VC movement may be dead according to these articles, but like the one I linked to pointed out, you still have to do it in lots of places if you want to ride a bike at all.
This, and it echoes my rural/urban commute. However I have ridden in cities with dedicated cycling infrastructure and appreciated it. One of the points of the article is that VC set back efforts for dedicated cycling infrastructure, however, so it could very well be that one of the reasons we both still have to CV even in rural areas is because of that set back. Complete Streets legislation could very well have mitigated this...
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Old 07-10-16, 10:13 AM   #4
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I think this article must have come right after the above one:


Vehicular cycling is dead, just don?t bury the body yet ? Shifter


VC is the only way for me to get around in my rural county on a bike. We have one separated bike path going from Monmouth to Salem. I don't use it because I'm already on a bus by that point; my riding is beyond Monmouth. The VC movement may be dead according to these articles, but like the one I linked to pointed out, you still have to do it in lots of places if you want to ride a bike at all.

Amazing... you clearly missed the premise offered in the OP...

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What if, 40 years ago, the idea that all people on bikes should be strong and confident enough to mingle with cars was rejected, and today’s ideas of building safe, bike-specific infrastructure had been embraced back then?
If 40 years ago, it was determined that dedicated cycling infrastructure should be build and be as complete as possible... likely there would be a lot more places where you don't have to ride VC... maybe even your example.

For all we know, the US may have been made to look more like Copenhagen... which around 40 years ago, rejected the notion that VC was the answer.
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Old 07-10-16, 10:21 AM   #5
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I think the entire article is based on flimsy evidence and sketchy history. Gives John Forester way too much credit and grossly inflates the impact of his theories. The idea that no one was building bike lanes in the 70s because everyone agreed that VC was the way to go is just not true.
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Old 07-11-16, 08:28 AM   #6
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For all we know, the US may have been made to look more like Copenhagen... which around 40 years ago, rejected the notion that VC was the answer.
Takes a huge leap of faith to think that many (if any) communities anywhere ever even considered the notion of Vehicular Cycling as promoted by John Forester and his acolytes, as an answer to anything, let alone "rejected" it.
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Old 07-11-16, 08:42 AM   #7
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Takes a huge leap of faith to think that many (if any) communities anywhere ever even considered the notion of Vehicular Cycling as promoted by John Forester and his acolytes, as an answer to anything, let alone "rejected" it.
Well Dallas had a cycling coordinator that for years squelched any bike infrastructure due to his belief that VC was "good enough."

And I suspect that any politician that caught wind of Forester and his followers simply took it as a notion to avoid funding bicycle projects that simply were "not needed..."

It doesn't take a huge leap of faith to simply nod and then do nothing...
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Old 07-11-16, 08:45 AM   #8
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I think the entire article is based on flimsy evidence and sketchy history. Gives John Forester way too much credit and grossly inflates the impact of his theories. The idea that no one was building bike lanes in the 70s because everyone agreed that VC was the way to go is just not true.
No doubt other reasons not to spend public monies also came into play... new stadiums, new developments and more roads were probably much higher on the list of things to do for a public that generally drives...
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Old 07-11-16, 10:01 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by jon c. View Post
I think the entire article is based on flimsy evidence and sketchy history. Gives John Forester way too much credit and grossly inflates the impact of his theories. The idea that no one was building bike lanes in the 70s because everyone agreed that VC was the way to go is just not true.
I don't think it helped that non-cycling-advocacy-anti-bike-infrastructure-forces found a political ally within the cycling advocate community, where bike infrastructure is concerned...
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Old 07-11-16, 10:11 AM   #10
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I just want a painted bike lane with a double stripe on major roads and thoroughfares.

Sorry, but dedicated infrastructure has too many problems to be a good solution.

1) Increases the belief among drivers that bicycles DON'T belong on the road with them. Why aren't you cycling on that bike path where you belong???

2) Dedicate paths only go where the politicians want them to go, not where I want to go today.

3) Dedicated paths force the cyclists to stop at every damn cross street when alongside a major thoroughfare.

4) Dedicated paths eventually become saturated with dogs, cats, baby strollers, walkers, joggers and clueless cyclists swerving all over the path with **** stuffed in their ears, oblivious to the world and preventing anyone that is riding at a reasonable pace with a destination in mind from getting there in any reasonable amount of time.
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Old 07-11-16, 10:52 AM   #11
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Well Dallas had a cycling coordinator that for years squelched any bike infrastructure due to his belief that VC was "good enough."

And I suspect that any politician that caught wind of Forester and his followers simply took it as a notion to avoid funding bicycle projects that simply were "not needed..."

It doesn't take a huge leap of faith to simply nod and then do nothing...
You are correct, there was that one joker in Dallas who swallowed the entire jug of Forester VC Kool -Aid and mucked over Dallas bicyclists for years under its influence.

BTW, does anyone have any insight on whether the Cycling Savvy folks in Orlando (a politer version of Foresterism) have any actual influence on bicycling conditions in that city or anywhere else?

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Old 07-11-16, 01:22 PM   #12
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You are correct, there was that one joker in Dallas who swallowed the entire jug of Forester VC Kool -Aid and mucked over Dallas bicyclists for years under its influence.

BTW, does anyone have any insight on whether the Cycling Savvy folks in Orlando (a politer version of Foresterism) have any actual influence on bicycling conditions in that city or anywhere else?
The interesting contrast is Fort Worth, which has a mayor that is a cyclist... The city has been laying down a fair amount of bike lane, and has also installed some nice bike paths, the latter resulting in a destination restaurant/bike shop at the terminus of one of the bike paths. There are also some nice connections to other restaurants near downtown. Now granted, Fort Worth is no Davis CA, but for "cowtown" they have actually done a nice job on recreational bike paths.

Transportation is another matter... so, in the land of big trucks and old brick streets... transportation cycling has a long way to go.
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Old 07-15-16, 04:45 AM   #13
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If 40 years ago, it was determined that dedicated cycling infrastructure should be build and be as complete as possible... likely there would be a lot more places where you don't have to ride VC... maybe even your example.

For all we know, the US may have been made to look more like Copenhagen... which around 40 years ago, rejected the notion that VC was the answer.
Did they really? I'm not too familiar with Copenhagen, but as I understand it all streets are accessible for bikes and a lot of them have no bike lanes because they are too narrow. Often those are also too narrow to pass a bike in a car without beeing at least invited to by the cyclist. So in the majority of the streets (not the majority of miles probably because these are mostly little streets), it is VC there.

With cycling in numbers like there, the perspective changes. Imo the general rule is in fact VC, and the exception is the main roads with (physically) seperated cycling lanes. These roads with cycle lanes are actually not cycling infrastructure but car infrastructure, because this infrastructure allows cars to speed up beyond the reach of their fellow road users. Without it they would have to adapt their speed to the slower road users, because those can't go faster.

Don't get me wrong, I'm in favour of cycle lanes in America. But when those cause a significant increase in cycling cities will change to a VC environment where the roads with bikelanes will be appreciated by the motorists for beeing faster.
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